ABA Offers Feedback on Proposed Opportunity Zone Rules

The American Bankers Association last week submitted a comment letter to the Internal Revenue Service offering feedback on proposed regulations related to the Opportunity Zone tax incentive. The incentive was created as part of the 2017 tax reform law and aims to drive long-term equity capital to distressed communities.

Under the program, taxpayers with qualified gains can invest them in identified Opportunity Zones around the country. Assuming requirements are met, the recognition of the qualified gains is deferred until 2026 and a portion of the gains may permanently avoid taxation.  In addition, assuming holding period requirements are met, gains realized on the underlying qualified Opportunity Zone businesses are non-taxable upon disposition.

In its comments, ABA noted that as this is a new program, there several operational issues that will need to be addressed. ABA specifically called on the IRS to clarify in the final regulation that an “eligible taxpayer” includes all members of a consolidated group; provide flexibility with respect to the timing of qualified Opportunity Zone investments; and modify the identification period for capital gains allocated from pass-through entities.